Displacement

I’ve been looking for a word, and I guess it is displacement: the expression of unreachable goals on an unrelated object. Freud said that many actions that seemed innocent enough, say, smoking a cigar or going on a hunting trip, were really motivated by libido or aggression. Since the target of the sex act or act of violence is unavailable, the subject expresses the desire in an unrelated way, though he is not conscious of the real motivation.

I don’t believe Freud was correct, but I think displaced anger is a very common experience: a man is angry at his boss and yells at his kids, because he can do nothing about his boss.

There seems to be quite a bit of displacement going on in Western society about Islamic Terrorism. We’ve seen how, in the wake of terrible terror attacks, world leaders converged on Paris to loudly condemn… the climate. The climate, yeah, that is it. That is the cause of the world’s problems… or rather, it will some day be the cause of problems, so we had better expend all of our emotions on it RIGHT NOW.

The West does not have the mental categories to deal with Islamic Terrorism, so Western leaders flail about looking for for something else to get outraged about. They displace their anxiety and fear onto something else.

 

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